The Battery, The Braves and Bicycles
by Mike Plant, President of Development, Atlanta Braves
I worked directly for Ted Turner for many years. In looking back, Ted did so much for the City of Atlanta and The Braves that was truly groundbreaking, including airing Braves games on Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). You could watch the games anywhere in the United States, and that’s how the Braves became one of America’s teams. As a business, the Braves have continued the tradition that Ted started so long ago, of making connections. Whether it’s through our games, the stadium or The Battery Atlanta, we connect with millions of fans and visitors regularly.
While there were skeptics regarding our move to Cobb County, after almost two years of operation, the community has embraced SunTrust Park, The Atlanta Braves and The Battery. We often have more than 5,000 people at The Battery at any given time — with or without a baseball game — and that proves we have become a year-round destination.
While we built a mixed-use development centered around America’s favorite pastime, the carefully crafted design has become a worldwide model. More than 100 teams from all over the world have come to tour our development and have noted the positive impact on the entire Cumberland district.
In 2018, we were the first commercial development in the district to participate in Cumberland CID’s launch of Zagster, a bike share rental program that provides easily accessible bicycles at the right location at the right time. The Braves organization went a step further and provided lockers and water stations at the bike depot on our property to ensure that valuables stay safe and riders stay hydrated. As a proponent of creating a walkable environment and decreasing the number of cars on the road, participating in the Zagster program was a perfect fit for us.
Also, we located parking lots less than a mile from the stadium to encourage walking, and the variety of access points has helped decrease traffic congestion. The I-75 Express Lanes have also helped shorten Battery employees’ commutes, thereby increasing their quality of life.
As a board member, I advocate for community-minded projects like bike share programs and the Bob Callan Trail. Creating a walkable environment and getting cars off the road is not only an urban trend, but it’s also a lifestyle shift. Studies have not only shown that exercise is essential for physical health, but also that sitting in traffic is detrimental to mental health and significantly decreases quality time spent on experiences that bring joy.
The economic impact of SunTrust Park and The Battery is only just beginning. We are deep into the construction of phase two that will include Thyssenkrupp Elevator Americas’ North American headquarters, an Aloft Hotel, a loft office building and a Silverspot movie theater that will add 600,000 square-feet to the complex, 300,000 square-feet of office space and even more tax dollars to the district. I am both proud to be a part of an organization that is a member of the CID and to be the largest taxpayer in its 31-year history.
Cumberland CID works hard every day to make the district more attractive, more accessible and more walkable — and the Braves are pleased to contribute. Not only are the Braves one of the best teams in the league, but we are also a business that pays attention to the wants and needs of our fans and community.